Institute Schedule

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“Dante’s Divine Comedy, poetry, philosophy, and the city of Florence”

NEH Summer Institute

Florence, Italy June 30-July 24, 2014

Primary Texts: Dante Major Works

Dante, The Divine Comedy 1: Inferno, trans. Robin Kirkpatrick (Penguin Classics, 2006). Recommended to buy.

Dante, The Divine Comedy 2: Purgatorio, trans. Robin Kirkpatrick (Penguin Classics, 2007). Recommended to buy.

Dante, The Divine Comedy 3: Paradiso, trans. Robin Kirkpatrick (Penguin Classics, 2007). Recommended to buy.

Primary Texts: Dante Minor Works

Dante, “Letter to Can Grande della Scala.” Ed. Ermenegildo Pistelli. Trans. Paget Toynbee. Testo critico della Societa' Dantesca Italiana. Florence: Societa' Dantesca Italiana, 1960.

Dante, Il Convivio (The Banquet). Trans. Richard Lansing. New York: Garland, l990. (dual language)

Dante, Monarchia. Ed. and trans. Prue Shaw. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Secondary Texts

Aquinas, Thomas. "Selections from Summa Theologiae," in Inferno, ed. and trans. Anthony Esolen (New York: Modern Library, 2002): 381-97. On closed site.

Blue Guide, "Assisi," "Ravenna," "Siena." On closed site.

Cambridge Companion to Dante, ed. Rachel Jacoff (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). (Selections will be available on closed site. Participants from subscribing institutions can access an e-book version.)

Frugoni, Chiara. A Day in a Medieval City, trans. William McCuaig (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005). Recommended to buy. Read before the seminar.

—. Le Storie di San Francesco: Guida agli affreschi della Basilica superiore di Assisi. Bilingual Edition (Torino: Einaudi, 2010). Recommended to buy.

Harrison, Robert Pogue. "Dante: The Most Vivid Version." The New York Review. Vol. 60.16 (2013): 41-3. On closed site.

Keane, Monica. “Bibliographies of Dante Translations in English,” (work in progress). On closed site.

Muscolino, Cetty. “The Conservation of the Mosaics of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy, 1989-1999.” Wall and Floor Mosaics: Conservation, Maintenance and Preservation. VIIIth Conference of the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics (ICCM). Thessaloniki, 29 Oct.-3 Nov. 2002. 169-80. On closed site.

—.“On the Observation and Conservation of Mosaics in Ravenna, 5th-6th Centuries.” 43-52. On closed site.

Saint Francis of Assisi, “Canticle of Brother Sun.”

Stefanini, Ruggero. "Inscriptions in the Sala dei Nove." On closed site.

Virgil. The Aeneid of Virgil. Trans. Allen Mandelbaum. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971. Books 4 and 6 on closed site.


Select Bibliography on closed site.


See LINKS for a list of web resources, including The Dante Society, Princeton Dante Project, Danteworlds, The World of Dante, and Dante Today.


Institute Schedule


Time 9-1 M-F, with some days taken as field trips. There will be a twenty-minute break. There are some afternoon sessions.

Meeting Place: University of Florence, Via Capponi 9. Note: The room changes, so please check for each class meeting.


Week 1 (June 30-July 4)

Background: Dante, early works, Virgil, Florence, Politics, Economics, the Church, and Ethics

Reading for the week: Dante’s Inferno 1-22; Monday: Giuseppe Mazzotta, “Life of Dante,” pp. 1-13, CCD; John M. Najemy, “Dante and Florence,” pp. 236-56, CCD; Lino Pertile, “Introduction to Inferno,” pp. 67-90, CCD; Tuesday: Kevin Brownless, “Dante and the Classical Poets,” pp.141-60, CCD; Wednesday: Charles Till Davis, “Dante and the Empire,” pp. 257-69.

Recommended: “Letter to Can Grande della Scala;” Virgil’s Aeneid, selections; Thomas Aquinas, selections; MonarchiaConvivioall on closed site.


Monday June 30: Introductions

Professor Peter Hawkins in residence from June 30-July 16

Read: Giuseppe Mazzotta, “Life of Dante,” pp. 1-13, CCD; John M. Najemy, “Dante and Florence,” pp. 236-56, CCD; Lino Pertile, “Introduction to Inferno,” pp. 67-90, CCD.

9:00-10:30 Aula 13

Institute faculty introduce themselves. Overview of the goals and objectives of the Institute and planned activities. Introduction to reading strategies for the Divine Comedy, and to iconographic art and literature.

11-11:30 Orientation to Florence’s archives and libraries (Schildgen).

11:30-1 Professor Lino Pertile guest speaker

“Florence in the Divine Comedy: Politics, Exile and Creativity”

3:45 PM Afternoon Private guided visit to Uffizi with Professor William Cook (when it is closed). We will meet on Via dei Neri, the tiny street between the Palazzo della Signoria and the Uffizi at the staff entrance to the museum.

Immediately following the visit to the Uffizzi, we are invited to the home of Karen Pfitzger, friend of Florence and patron of Art and Education, for an apperitivo.


Tuesday July 1

Read: Kevin Brownlee, “Dante and the Classical Poets,” pp.141-60, CCD.

9:00-11:00 Private visit to the Baptistery of San Giovanni with S. Alessandro Bicchi, Diacono della Cattedrale.

11:00-1:00 Aula 16

Inferno 1-4. (Schildgen and Hawkins)

7PM Gathering at Caffetteria delle Oblate, Via dell' Oriuolo 26.

Wednesday July 2

Read: Charles Till Davis, “Dante and the Empire,” pp. 257-69, CCD.

9:00-11:00 Aula 13

Inferno 5-7. (Schildgen and Hawkins).

11:15-1:00 Professor David Ardagh, “Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Free Will, Ethics and Politics and Inferno 11.”


Thursday July 3

9:00-1:00 Aula 16

Inferno 8-16. (Schildgen and Hawkins).


Friday July 4

9:00-11:30 Aula 16

Inferno 17-23. (Schildgen and Hawkins)

3:30 Santa Maria Novella visit with Arch. Donatella Donatini. We meet at the Museum (Cloister) entrance on Piazza Stazione.


Week 2 (July 7-July 11)

BackgroundInfernoPurgatorio, Medieval Politics, Art, and Poetry

Reading for the week: Dante’s Inferno 23-34, Purgatorio 1-24; Tuesday: Ruggero Stefanini, “Inscriptions in the Sala dei Nove.” Wednesday: Jeffrey Schnapp, “Introduction to Purgatorio,” pp. 91-106, CCD.

Recommended: “Siena,” Blue Guide.


Monday July 7

9:00-1:00 Aula 13

Inferno 24-34. (Schildgen and Hawkins)


Tuesday July 8 Siena

Read: Ruggero Stefanini, "Inscriptions in the Sala dei Nove." On closed site; Recommended: “Siena,” Blue Guide.

Siena (We meet at the Bus station on Via S. Caterina da Siena, just off Piazza Stazione at 9 to take Florence-Siena bus, arriving Siena 10:30). You are free to leave following the

Guided tour of Palazzo Comunale and Opera del Duomo, Siena with Professor William Cook or to return to Florence at your pleasure.


Wednesday July 9

Read: Jeffrey Schnapp, “Introduction to Purgatorio,” pp. 91-106, CCD; "Florentine Illuminations for Dante's Divine Comedy, an assessment," in Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissanceon closed site.

9:00-1:00 Aula 4

Introduction to Purgatorio 1-6. (Schildgen and Hawkins)


Thursday July 10

9:00-1:00  Aula 5

Purgatorio 7-15. (Schildgen and Hawkins)

Afternoon 2PM-3PM (two groups) :

Visit to Biblioteca Laurenziana to see 4 fourtheenth-century Commedia illuminated manuscripts.

7:00 Hosted Gathering. Place TBA

Casual conversations about approaches to teaching

General issues: pedagogy, reception, canons, great books, translation, interrelationship of the arts and sciences in the medieval and early modern periods and applications in a pedagogical setting.

Friday July 11

9:00-1:00 Aula 13

Purgatorio 16-22. (Schildgen and Hawkins)


Week 3 (July 13-July 18)

Note: Aula 16 for the remainder of the seminar

Professor Peter Hawkins continues in residence.  Professors Hawkins and Schildgen will lead the discussions.

Background: Purgatorio, the Bible, Lyric poetry, Monasticism and Medieval learning

Reading for the Week: Dante’s Purgatorio 25-33, Paradiso 1-10; Monday: Peter Hawkins, “Dante and the Bible,” pp. 125-40, CCD, Teodolinda Barolini, “Dante and the Lyric Past,” pp. 14-34, CCD; Friday: Rachel Jacoff, “Introduction to Paradiso,” pp. 107-24, CCD.

Recommended:  Chiara Frugoni,  Le Storie di San Francesco: Guida agli affreschi della Basilica superiore di Assisi; “Assisi,” Blue Guideon closed site.


Monday July 14

Read: Peter Hawkins, “Dante and the Bible,” pp. 125-40, CCD; Teodolinda Barolini, “Dante and the Lyric Past,” pp. 14-34, CCD.

Recommended: Chiara Frugoni,  Le Storie di San Francesco: Guida agli affreschi della Basilica superiore di Assisi.

9:00-1:00 Purgatorio 23-28. (Hawkins and Schildgen)

Afternoon: 3PM We will meet at the small door to the right of the façade of Santa Croce at 3PM for a one hour tour of the church with Paola Vojnovic prior to Professor Frugoni’s talk.

4-6PM  Professor Chiara Frugoni, University of Rome, emerita, “Upper Basilica, Church of San Francesco, Assisi” at Sacristy, Pazzi Chapel at Santa Croce.

Tuesday July 15

Recommended: “Assisi,” Blue Guide.

9:00-5:00 All day visit to Assisi and a Franciscan guided visit to the Basilica of San Francesco with special attention to the Giotto frescoes in the Upper Basilica(Simone Martini, Cimabue, Pietro Lorenzetti, Giotto).


Wednesday July 16

9:00-1:00 Purgatorio 29-33. (Hawkins and Schildgen)

4:30 PM Visit to San Miniato, “Lecture on Monasticism: St. Benedict and St. Bernard,” with Padre Bernardo, Benedictine Monastery, San Miniato (followed by Gregorian Chant).


Thursday July 17

9:00-1:00 Paradiso 1-5 (Professor Giuseppe Mazzotta and Brenda Schildgen).


Friday July 18

Read: Rachel Jacoff, “Introduction to Paradiso,” pp. 107-24, CCD.

9:00-1:00  Paradiso 6-10 (Schildgen and William Franke)

4:00 PM Afternoon lecture OPA Centro Arte e Cultura, Aula Talenti:

Professor Giuseppe Mazzotta, Introduction to Paradiso and the encyclopedia of medieval learning.

7 PM Gathering: Place TBA


Week 4 (July 21-25)

Background: Paradiso, St. Francis, Theology and Pedagogy

Reading for the Week: Paradiso 11-33; Monday: Saint Francis of Assisi, “Canticle of Brother Sun;” A. N. Williams, “The theology of the Comedy,” pp. 201-17, CCD; Cetty Muscolino, “The Conservation of the Mosaics of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy, 1989-1999” and “On the Observation and Conservation of Mosaics in Ravenna, 5th-6th Centuries;” Wednesday: David Wallace, “Dante in English,” 281-304, CCD.

Recommended: “Ravenna,” Blue Guide.


Monday July 21

Read: Saint Francis of Assisi, “Canticle of Brother Sun”; A. N. Williams, “The theology of the Comedy,” pp. 201-17, CCD. Cetty Muscolino, “The Conservation of the Mosaics of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy, 1989-1999” and “On the Observation and Conservation of Mosaics in Ravenna, 5th-6th Centuries.”

9:00-11:45 Paradiso 11-18. (Schildgen and Franke)

12-1:00 Professor William Franke, “Self-Reflection and the Theological Apotheosis of Lyric in the Paradiso.”


Tuesday July 22

Recommended: “Ravenna,” Blue Guide.

8:00-5:00 All day guided trip to Ravenna and its Paleo-Christian monuments.

Cetty Muscolino, Direttrice Museo Nazionale di Ravenna Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici e Paesaggistici
per le province di Ravenna, Ferrara, Forlì-Cesena, Rimini
, with Carla Muschio as translator


Wednesday July 23

Read: David Wallace, “Dante in English,” 281-304, CCD.

9:00-1:00 Paradiso 19-27.


Thursday July 24

9:00-1:00 Paradiso 30-33.

Closing Session and Summations


Evening Closing gathering at the Institute director’s house.